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[pct-l] PCT & biking
- Subject: [pct-l] PCT & biking
- From: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Date: Wed, 26 Apr 2000 10:22:36 +0700
Must de-lurk for this!
First, best of luck to Class of 2000! Hope to still see some hardy souls
while heading south from the Columbia, in the Summer. Wish mightily that I
could've made it to the KOP!
Now, Blisterfree, regarding your ride home: if you want an experienced riding
partner, send me some electrons off-list and maybe we can work it up.
I have enjoyed this list tremendously, both the hardware and the wetware
topic lines equally. I am, however, not planning to hike the whole PCT any
time soon. Rather, I have lurked, picking wisdom and nuance from other
aspirants because THIS LIST is the closest thing to what it is that I AM going
to do, namely, the PCBT, the Pacific Crest Bicycle Trail. THERE IS NO
COMPARABLE BICYCLING LIST.
Before any of you purists forget "hike yer own hike," you should know that
this doesn't involve putting a bike on the actual PCT, okay? It is a route
which parallels as close as possible to the PCT on paved, gravel , and dirt
roads, @2600 miles, from Canada to Mexico. OBVIOUSLY, IT IS NOT the same
experience! Not in the same class. No mountaineering, ice climbing,
belaying-the-pack-burro-rappelling segments. One helluva lotta grades, though.
Same weather, same bugs, same water needs (actually increased)...
What the pct-l has given me is a commonality with long distance bicycle
touring in the challenges of equipment weight & function, nutrition and
attitude matters, and a common sense of the camping aspect, with the
pervasiveness of the environment encountered along the way.
All these things are the SAME for long distance, back-country bicycle touring.
The PCBT passes through 26 national forests, at least six national parks,
wilderness areas, state and BLM land - every kinda terrain and its concomitant
weather, and a few forgotten small towns here and there. While it crosses the
PCT only 19 times, the PCBT is occasionally only meters away, and often within
sight of it. All right - no- it doesn't traverse the knife-edge ridgelines of
whole mountain chains. Remember, bikes would scare the mules.
The resupply problems are quite similar to the PCT. I will have ten mail
drops of mostly food at general delivery addresses. There simply aren't enough
cafes and groceries along the way to resupply from.
As for camping, I expect to stealth camp almost the entire route, as one
might on the PCT. Having already done most of the state of Washington in one
trip, I will be returning to the PCBT along the River Tieton, somewhat east of
where the PCT crosses White Pass at US Highway 12. I expect to get to Campo in
about 45 days, at a comfortable pace, with 4 panniers and/or a trailer.
The beauty of the PCBT, beside the unparalleled scenery, is that the lion's
share of the route is a low-traffic, non-tourist environment. One can turn off
to explore & hike or whatever anywhere, and still keep reasonable time on the
trail. The unfortunate experience of Marshall Karon can be discouraging, in
that the coast road along the Pacific is WAY over-rated in terms of ease, due
to tourist traffic and some bad road (ridden it several times).
All of the caveats (except the ice axe stuff) of the PCT apply, and planning
and preparation through several iterations is definitely in order. Just as
there are those who both start and finish the PCT without much in the way of
prior trail time (defying those undocumented, nebulous statistics bandied
about on this list), a rider who finished a thru-ride of the PCBT without
training for the omnipresent uphills and the back-country livin' would be a
rare bear. But she would definitely have bigger quadriceps.
Anyhow, Blisterfree, it seems to me that if you understand long-distance
hiking and what it takes to execute, and you can keep down to a reasonable
pace (its the regular little circular pedaling motions, not the raw speed,
which gets the daily miles accomplished) and reasonable expectations, you
should be able to bike home. Ultralight will help. I have also found that for
long trips, preparing the bulk of my food ahead of time is preferable to
trying to survive off of Ma & Pa grocery shelves - if you carry most of your
food already, then you can pick and choose what local specialties you wish,
instead of growing sick of twinkies and pop.
You will burn one hell of a lot more calories cycling 60+ miles a day, trust
me. You will consume more water than when hiking. You will discover that you
did not engage ALL the muscles that you thought you did, when you toted that
pack to Manning; that should pass pretty quickly, considering your excellent
conditioning experience on the PCT.
You should be absolutely certain that your bike fits you and is configured
for long-distance riding. This subject can get more technical than warranted
on this list (as if this whole off-trail rambling missive is appropriate), and
I will be glad to suggest stuff and pass URLs, etc. off-list.
A singular benefit to your idea of riding back may be re-integration into the
mundane world. For me, bicycle touring gives the best of both worlds, where I
can explore wilderness on or off the bike, and where I am much closer to the
people that actually inhabit the land I am passing through (obviously, no
closer than if I were walking). There is isolation, but less than on a long
trail, and comfortably more than when at home in the city. Actually, I like
isolation. Anyway, it should be interesting to hear from you and others who
thru-hike a long trail and then bike home, as to whether it makes any
difference in returning to a former life. As for me, I am with those on this
list who have said, in effect, that once travelled, the trail always calls
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